Staff Testimonials


Bernice Hayward, BSN, MSN, RN - CARS RARC Program Director

Hello everyone,

I wanted to share a bit about myself and why I am so excited to be a part of CARS and to be CARS RARC Program Director. My SUD experience is cumulative over the entirety of my professional nursing career. This has been across multiple healthcare settings and that experience has suffused and defined my career. Therefore, my experience crosses the depth and breadth of my career and is not limited to a single facility or single organization.  My experience has been across the health care continuum which I believe uniquely qualifies me as 820 care moves into an integrated, care continuum model for the future.

While at Cayuga Medical Center, I provided complex case management and coordination of health services. The patient population I worked with were people with substance use disorders, complex mental health needs, and a variety of physical co-morbidities. I would meet with patients while they were still in the hospital and introduce them to outpatient services.  If a patient accepted the services, I would work with them one-on-one after discharge.  Using a modified Coleman model ( , I provided case management health care and social work to individuals based on the level of care required, which was constantly monitored and assessed.  This included, but was not limited to, primary care, mental health and substance abuse providers.

During my years with Visiting Nurse Services of Ithaca, I provided clinical nursing assessments, interventions, monitored progress, identified and resolved medical needs for many SUD patients. This experience was in pursuit of the sort of integrated and care continuum model I spoke of earlier.  Therefore, it went well beyond the sometimes highly compartmentalized care of a “silo” defined care system. This would have included providing patient/family education about the nature, scope of addiction and the benefits of treatment and recovery.  In my later years with Visiting Nurses, my responsibilities expanded to training, mentorship and directing staff who also provided direct care with a similar patient profile as noted above. These training and supervisory interventions were often with the patients and families that struggled with many years of alcohol and drug use, abuse and addiction.

My commitment to addiction recovery goes well beyond my professional life as well. I have been involved and am quite active with the program, New Beginnings Equine. I started volunteering with the program the summer of 2017. The program is funded through the Bath VA in-patient, long term addiction rehabilitation program and coordinated with the Vocational Director. Patients meet strict programing criteria to be allowed to attend.  It is a chance for them to learn and experience other activities in life and for many of them a completely different life style. I usually will work with 2 horses and 4 patients at a time to teach the patients how to care for the horses with grooming, saddling them up to ride, and give basic riding instructions. 

Most importantly I facilitate therapeutic interactions between the patient and the horses by teaching the patients mindfulness, calming themselves down and being present with the animals and themselves.  I also provide the nursing aspect to respond to medical issues that may arise. 

My role at the RARC Program Director is a natural step in the progression of my career.   Over the last 15 years, I have been involved with many patients, many situations.  The SUD patients stand out for me, so much so, I have chosen to spend personal time volunteering for them and have accepted the meaningful role as Program Director for CARS Residential Services.

Thank you.

Bernice Hayward, BSN, MSN, RN

CARS RARC Program Director

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